The state needs to live within its means and exercise fiscal responsibility

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As printed in the Dayton Chronicle and Prosser Record-Bulletin

The final weeks of the 2019 session are upon us.

By now, you have probably heard the latest revenue forecast news projecting an increase in state revenue of approximately $4 billion. Economic growth continues across our state. This prosperity happened without raising your taxes. This is fiscal responsibility at its best.

Unfortunately, this session, the tone continues to change in Olympia. With the Democrats in control of both the House and Senate, and the governor's office, the “let's work together” mentality has lost its spark. Rather than continuing to live within our means, it seems increased state spending, the growth of government, and new taxes are the “flavors of the day.”

The House recently passed its 2019-21 operating budget. There are some good things in this budget like increased funding for our law enforcement agencies to fight the opioid and drug addiction epidemic; improvements to K-12 special education funding; the three percent cost-of-living increase for PERS/TRS 1; and investments in higher education.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good and I had to vote no.

Here is why. First, it is not sustainable. It appropriates $53 billion dollars, increasing state spending by more than 19 percent. This is the largest biennial spending increase since 1989. Even with our red-hot economy, state economists are predicting an economic downturn is right around the corner. We should be saving this record revenue for a rainy day, when we are going to need it the most.

What's more, the Democrats want to increase your taxes by more than over $4 billion! The taxpayers of this state should not have to pay for this massive spending plan. This tactic proves the majority party is incapable of prioritizing services and living within their means.

Some of the current tax proposals on the table include:

  • Increase in business and occupation (B&O) taxes. This would be a three-tiered system, affecting health care providers, builders, and small businesses the most.
  • Capital gains income tax. For several sessions, Democrats have tried to push forward a tax on capital gains. This is the starting point for a statewide income tax. The voters of Washington have said “no” to an income tax ten times! The line needs to be held on implementing these types of taxes.
  • Increase in fuel costs through a new gas tax. Earlier in session, the House passed a bill that would create a low carbon fuel standard in Washington state. One of the provisions in this standard would be an increased cost in fuel prices as much as 16-cents a gallon.

As your voice here in Olympia, I will continue to work on commonsense fiscal solutions with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure the work we do on behalf of the citizens of the 16th District, and the state, benefit everyone. By working together, we can achieve positive fiscal results and maintain balance.

This session, we have seen several bad policies shut down because you raised your voice. Let's continue that momentum. The tax and spend antics currently taking place in Olympia is the wrong direction for our state. Your opinion matters. Call the toll free number (800) 562-6000 and demand fiscal responsibility and no new taxes.

 

State Representative Bill Jenkin
16th Legislative District
RepresentativeBillJenkin.com
470 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
bill.jenkin@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000